Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! – Hunter S. Thompson
Wow! Who knew that when I started this professional journey in January 2018 to challenge myself and grow as an Instructional Technology Coach, I would be here, a Google Certified Educator and Trainer!
Put Yourself Out There
I’ve been a member of Twitter for years, but never have I used it for professional purposes. I attended my first professional tech conference in November 2017 and although I participated in the hashtags, pictures, and networking events, I still felt disconnected from others in my profession. So, I decided to expand my Twitterverse and I created a professional account. The first week I joined as many chats as I could find and as a result, I discovered so many like-minded individuals that I decided to become a co-moderator in my local district monthly chats.
Within a month of my first chat session, my contacts, #PLN, had grown, I was invited to host TECHtalkGA chat, and I was on my way to participating in edcamps and attending my first EdTechTeam Summit where I learned about getting Google for Education Certifications. I felt like a kid in a candy store full of Jelly Bellies and Chocolate and what amazed me the most was the fact that this store had been opened for business long before I wandered down the street!
As I continued to attend edcamps and host and participate in Twitter chats, I realized that I needed more. I had a fire inside that was pushing me to learn as much as I could from as many resources there were available. I consumed knowledge from everyone I encountered and I offered my heartfelt opinion as often as I was given the opportunity to do so.
Buckle up. The ride is about to begin.
Let’s Get Certified
Despite the fire, I had growing inside, I still found myself apprehensive about taking that plunge into the certification process. Not only was I attending edcamps every month, I was now putting my name on the board to hold a session about Google productivity tools. So what was I waiting for? I didn’t want to let my family down, but more than anything, I didn’t want to let myself down. Taking the famous Nike phrase, “Just Do It” to heart, I started the Google Certified Educator Level 1 process during spring break the first week in April.
Between moving homes, spending time with my family, and working on presentations I proposed for a local Digital Learning Conference, I once again found myself putting my certification pursuits on the back burner. Come on Rhonda, you can do it. Imagine what will happen to you once you do. Envision the possibilities. See your future. Go for it!
I scheduled a date on my calendar to take the exam. Once I completed the payment there was no turning back. May 3, 2018, gave me a 7-day window to fish or cut bait. Fingers were crossed and prayers went up.
I took the exam on May 6, 2018, and 3 hours later I got the results. PASSED!
Whew! The apprehension I once had quickly dissipated and was immediately replaced with exhilaration and relief. I can do this after all. I began preparing for the Level 2 exam. Right around 5 days later I completed the training materials, took the exam, and again, 3 hours later I got the results. PASSED! I am on a roll!
Up next: Trainer or Innovator? Whoa, pump the brakes a little there Rhonda. Enjoy these accomplishments before you go reaching for the brass ring! Are you really ready to be a Certified Google Trainer? Have you done enough training yet? At all? Can you say ambitious?
After much consideration and deliberation, I decided to take a chance on the materials I had and I put in the application for Google Trainer. I felt a strong internal push that my timing was just right and that my application would showcase my uniqueness. It was now or never.
Monday, May 28, 2018, was the day a simple button click made me do a quick review of my life and all that I had done in such a short period of time. Everything was happening so fast! Was I really ready for the application to be accepted or was I going to use this as a learning experience and prepare better for a future application? Either way, I win right? Submit, click. Fingers were crossed again and more prayers went up.
The Waiting Is Finally Over
Despite the canned response of a 4-6 weeks processing time, every day for 2 weeks, I checked the status of my application. Anxious can’t begin to effectively describe the feelings I had as I slowly scrolled to read the status change from Submitted to In Review on my phone. I felt like I was free falling.
On Thursday, June 14, 2018, as I sat in preparation for my presentations, I looked one more time. Talk about taking a risk. If it is not favorable news, how will it affect my day full of presentations? If it is the previous status, In Review, at least it will be no worse than it was yesterday. But, maybe, just maybe today is the day. I began my usual slow scroll down the screen. This time In Review has been replaced with ACCEPTED!
I gasped out loud and a huge smile took over my face! My friend, who encouraged me to use the materials I had, was sitting next to me at the time, and all I could do was just show her my phone. She gasped out loud too and then gave me the biggest congratulatory hug you can imagine.
I posted this on Twitter making sure to thank all the people who supported and encouraged me along the way. Without my #PLN, I don’t know if I would have jumped out of the gate the way I did.
I did it! I set a goal in January to grow professionally and I am official #GoogleET. I cannot wait to see where this adventure takes me and I’m looking forward to working with even more great educators through this opportunity.
This ride is far from over, but what a ride it has been!